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Gharib: We played well and I deserve my chance
After tonight’s loss to Senegal and with Egypt’s hopes of qualifying for the 2015 AFCON nearly gone, quite a few fingers are being pointed again at Shawky Gharib. What did the manager have to say?
Chants were heard in Cairo Stadium calling for Gharib to step down as the game came to a close, as Egypt slumped to a lethargic 0-1 defeat to a quality Senegal side.
“Some might disagree with me but I think the hope is still there,” said Gharib after the match, referring to the possibility of Egypt qualifying as the best third-placed team among the seven qualifying groups.
“I’ll cling to this hope and I’m going to Tunisia with the intent to win,” he added.
“I said it before; we’re building a team. Today we saw five players who never played for the national team before: Rahil, Trezeguet, Gabr, Sobhy and Arafa El-Sayed. I think the team selection was good. But the players lack experience and were stressed to play in front of fans.”
Despite what many saw as a disappointing display, Gharib claimed that “Egypt played one of its best games in these qualifiers. We played better than against Tunisia and better than against Botswana even though we won those games.”
“We missed many chances. If Arafa had gotten the chance that he did tonight 20 times in the [Egyptian] league, he would have scored all 20 of them.”
Finally, Gharib denied stepping down and said that some before him have failed at their goal yet continued, probably referring to previous coach Bob Bradley’s contract extension after he failed to qualify through a play-off for the tournament’s previous edition.
“I deserve a full chance like others,” he exclaimed.
On his part, FA president Gamal Allam said that the board will meet after next Wednesday’s final qualifying game in Tunisia.
“We had a target and it wasn’t met,” Allam said. “We have to sit down and talk about that.”
In a separate statement, Allam’s deputy Hassan Farid said that there is no intention for Gharib to leave.